This is What Constitutional Monarchy Looks like

This is What Constitutional Monarchy Looks like

The opposition of the Ontario Minister of Education to the just stand of the York District School Board (YRDSB) instructing the teachers and educators in its jurisdiction on how to address the significance of Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her death,  is a good example of what the constitutional order that prevails in Canada looks like. 

 On September 9, the YRDSB, Ontario’s third largest public school board, issued a memo to its teachers providing guidance to educators on how to address the death of the Queen in the schools under its jurisdiction. The memo stated “[w]e request that school staff please refrain from developing tributes or activities to memorialize the death of the Queen, as well as displaying objects associated with the Queen for the purposes of memorializing. For some, the death of the Queen is very triggering.”

Schools were also asked not to play “God Save the Queen” or to livestream events related to the funeral and to offer students a neutral space “to have a break from potentially triggering media exposure.”  

In response, Minister of Education Stephen Lecce used his prerogative powers as Minister of the Crown, to whom he has sworn allegiance, to direct the school board and by extension its teachers to “honour the queen on the date of her funeral (Monday September 19).”

Making it clear this directive is for all school boards in the province, he said: “We have made clear our direction that all schools are to recognize the profound impact of Queen Elizabeth II’s lifelong and unwavering devotion to public service.”

“I have directed this board [YRDSB] to implement the province’s expectation, honour the Queen on the date of her funeral, and enrich students with a strong understanding of the values and enduring legacy of Canada’s constitutional democracy.”  

A government spokesperson said Minister Lecce also spoke to all school board chairs, directors and board leaders and shared an expectation that “all schools participate in the moment of silence.”  

The clash between the values of the vast majority of Canadians and those of the ruling class that are said to be “Canadian values’ to which everyone must swear allegiance, is growing by leaps and bounds. For the teachers and educators, protecting the well-being of the students, and teachers and educators, is a fundamental duty. To be directed to sing hosannas to the symbol of the enslavement, oppression and even genocide of millions the world over is to deny the right of the entire population to their conscience. Primary and secondary students  are particularly sensitive to the stories they are now well aware of related to the residential schools, slavery, suppression of the rebellions of the people of Québec against British rule, of the people of Ontario against British rule, of the Métis, of the brutal acts of war and covert police actions in Ireland and the countries of Africa and Asia and the Caribbean and so on. For many, the thought of having a King “rule over them” is anathema. This is what the constitutional order in Canada is all about.

Ontario has not declared September 19 as a holiday for schools and other workplaces but has instead declared it a provincial day of mourning along with a moment of silence at 1 p.m.  This means that many parents will be permitting their kids to stay seated, or leave the room or simply not go to school that day. This is just the beginning of the constitutional crisis the ruling class faces going forward if they persist in dictating what conscience the people can or cannot have.

(with files from Global News)